Three days after the much anticipated meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif led to a revival of the stalled dialogue process and a commitment to speed up 26/11 Mumbai attack trial in Pakistan, the latter sought for more evidence.
“We need more information and evidence to conclude the (Mumbai) trial. The reference to ‘additional information’ (in the Ufa statement) is a recognition of the need that more information is needed to expedite the trial,” Pakistan PM’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the press in Islamabad.
The issue of terror had dominated the delegation-level talks between the two nations on the sidelines of SCO summit at Ufa, Russia last week with both leaders pledging to eliminate terrorism from South Asia. PM Modi and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif had also agreed to find ways to speed up the trial of the 26/11 Mumbai attack case.
Just on Friday, the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan, S Jaishankar and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, respectively had said in a joint press conference that, “both sides agreed to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial including additional information like providing voice samples”.
In another turnaround of sorts, Pakistan asserted that talks cannot take place without Kashmir being on the agenda.
“No dialogue will take place with India unless Kashmir issue is included in the agenda,” Aziz added.
Sartaj Aziz also raked up Samjhauta blast and Balochistan issue, saying, “(PM Sharif) sought information on the progress made on the trial of Samjhauta express terrorist incident”.
Pakistan’s stand has now attracted political reactions in India.
“What did I say about premature declarations of victory & misplaced chest thumping?” former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
The talks had assumed importance with both the sides making some headway, especially the decision to hold talks at the level of NSA and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s acceptance of Nawaz Sharif’s invitation to visit Pakistan for the SAARC summit next year.
BJP too was buoyed by the result of meeting between the two Prime Ministers, with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying, “Indo-Pak joint statement at Ufa shows signs of positive movement. The engagement at different levels will hopefully open new possibilities”.
The ruling party had also made a claim that for the first time Pakistan has accepted India’s definition of terrorism.
“For the first time Pakistan has accepted India’s definition of terrorism, that terrorism in all its forms is unacceptable,” BJP national spokesperson MJ Akbar had said.
Before the meeting at Ufa, PM Modi and PM Sharif had held their last bilateral meet in May last year when the Pakistan Prime Minister had come to New Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But the relations between the two countries soon suffered a chill after India lodged a protest with Islamabad on the issue of Pakistan High Commissioner meeting the Kashmiri separatist leaders ahead of the Foreign Secretary level talks. The talks were subsequently cancelled.
Following the episode, the two leaders had met during the SAARC summit in Kathmandu in November last year but had merely exchanged pleasantries.
(With inputs from the PTI)